Cel­e­brate The Brave

Wendy Turner vis­its a unique war me­mo­rial in Cam­bridgeshire.

This England - - Celebrate The Brave - hanks to ich Cobb, Su­per­in­ten­dent, Cam­bridge Amer­i­can Ceme­tery.

THE fa­mous wartime band leader Glenn Miller dis­ap­peared on De­cem­ber 15, 1944, when fly­ing over the English Chan­nel to en­ter­tain troops in Paris. But he is re­mem­bered ev­ery day at the Cam­bridge Amer­i­can Ceme­tery.

His full name, “Alton Glenn Miller”, is in­scribed on the Wall of the Miss­ing along with over 5,000 Amer­i­can ser­vice­men and women Miss­ing in Ac­tion.

The Cam­bridge Amer­i­can Ceme­tery and Me­mo­rial stands on land granted in per­pe­tu­ity by the niver­sity of Cam­bridge in 1943.

Its wide, sweep­ing lawns are the fi­nal rest­ing places for nearly 4,000 per­son­nel who took part in the Bat­tle of the At­lantic, the Strate­gic Air Cam­paign and the lead-up to the D-day In­va­sion.

They are buried with­out re­gard to rank, race or gen­der with head­stones mostly in the shape of the Latin Cross but some with the Star of David.

Visi­tors are greeted by the Stars and Stripes fly­ing from a tall flag­pole. An ex­tract from the Poppy Poem, “In Flan­ders Field” by Cana­dian WWI Army doc­tor Lt. Col. ohn Mc­crae, adorns its base. The plat­form is en­cir­cled by 50 roses, one for each state.

A walk­way leads from the flag around the lawn, lined by white hawthorn trees, tulip catalpa, beech, oak and sweet gum trees. It passes still and re­flect­ing pools where fam­i­lies and visi­tors stop in quiet­ness to re­mem­ber the lives and sto­ries of those com­mem­o­rated here.

Near the pools, the Wall of the Miss­ing hon­ours those who never re­turned. All ser­vice per­son­nel are named to­gether with their posts, from cooks, fire­men and gun­ners’ mates to hospi­tal ap­pren­tices, sig­nal­men and bomb squadrons, among many oth­ers.

A small rosette marks those since re­cov­ered and iden­ti­fied who have been in­terred or repa­tri­ated.

Rich Cobb, Su­per­in­ten­dent of the Cam­bridge Amer­i­can Ceme­tery, says, “Our job is to tell the story of their ser­vice and sac­ri­fice to a new gen­er­a­tion in an in­spir­ing way. We do this by us­ing bi­ogra­phies of those who served, fought and died along with their Bri­tish com­rades. In Cam­bridge, our mis­sion is also to cel­e­brate and re­in­force the spe­cial re­la­tion­ship be­tween the peo­ples of the nited king­dom and the nited States.”

The Wall of the Miss­ing is guarded by four larger-than-life stat­ues of ser­vice­men rep­re­sent­ing Coast­guard, Army Air Force, Navy and Army. A frieze com­mem­o­rates them. The Amer­i­cans whose names here ap­pear were part of the price that free men for the sec­ond time this cen­tury have been forced to pay to de­fend hu­man lib­erty and rights. All who shall hereafter live in free­dom will be re­minded that to these men and their com­rades we owe a debt to be paid with grate­ful re­mem­brance of their sac­ri­fice and the high re­solve that the cause for which they died shall live eter­nally.

Many fam­i­lies visit from the SA to lo­cate the names of loved ones on the Wall.

“Some like to take pho­tos,” Rich says. “One prob­lem is that flash pho­tog­ra­phy tends to bleach out the names but we have a spe­cial way of coun­ter­ing the prob­lem. We fill the carved name with damp­ened sand sent over from Normandy. The sand dark­ens when wet which adds con­trast

and al­lows the name to stand out.

“Normandy was the first ceme­tery to use sand in this way and it is a sym­bol­i­cally pow­er­ful link with them. Both the method used and the link with Normandy are much ap­pre­ci­ated by our vis­it­ing fam­i­lies.”

The path leads to the beau­ti­ful Me­mo­rial Chapel, its huge wooden doors show­ing re­liefs of ships, tanks and mil­i­tary weapons. The in­te­rior is a mo­saic won­der­land cre­ated by artist Fran­cis Scott Brad­ford.

Rich ex­plains “Af­ter the war de­signs for the Chapel went to open com­pe­ti­tion, ar­chi­tects from around the world sent in pro­pos­als and Mr Scott Brad­ford’s was cho­sen. His stun­ning mo­saics of an­gels and aero­planes in vi­brant blues and golds look mod­ern even to­day and seem al­most in mo­tion across the ceil­ing.

“And while in the Chapel, many visi­tors spend time fol­low­ing the mis­sions and routes of ships and planes dis­played on the great wall maps, ad­mir­ing the Great Seals of Amer­i­can States on the win­dows or just ab­sorb­ing the amaz­ing beauty of the Chapel.”

The Chapel base­ment houses a Car­il­lon ma­chine which plays three songs ev­ery day at 10 a.m., noon and 4.50 p.m.

“It’s a great ex­pe­ri­ence to pause in your visit and lis­ten to mu­sic play­ing over the grounds,” Rich says. “There are around one hun­dred and forty songs which play ran­domly. TAPS, Ex­tin­guish Lights’, is played at 4.30 p.m.”

A high-tech Vis­i­tor Cen­tre packed with in­for­ma­tion, pho­tos, per­sonal sto­ries, films and in­ter­ac­tive dis­plays opened in 2014.

“Peo­ple come here for a fam­ily day out,” Rich says, “which may sound strange, but there is no need to feel awk­ward about en­joy­ing a visit.

“Our role is to cel­e­brate the lives of the brave who lived and died in ser­vice of their coun­try and in so do­ing made the world a bet­ter place.”

Com­mis­sioned by Anne of Den­mark, the wife of James I (reigned 1603-1625), and built be­tween 1616 and 1638, the Queen’s House was the first build­ing in Bri­tain built in the clas­si­cal style as well as the only part of the royal palace com­plex at Green­wich still stand­ing.

Anne ap­pointed Lon­don-born Inigo Jones (1573-1652) as architect. Jones had spent three years in Italy study­ing Ro­man and Re­nais­sance ar­chi­tec­ture and this, his first im­por­tant com­mis­sion, was heav­ily in­flu­enced by his time there.

Though gen­er­ally called Pal­la­dian in style, the prime model for the Queen’s house was the Medici villa at Pog­gio a Ca­iano, by Gi­u­liano da San­gallo, with its de­sign re­flect­ing Re­nais­sance ideas of math­e­mat­i­cal and clas­si­cal pro­por­tions and har­mony. It was revo­lu­tion­ary in Bri­tain, with the com­pleted build­ing look­ing very dif­fer­ent from the red brick, rather hig­gledy-pig­gledy Tu­dor palace.

While this was not Anne’s first grand house (James I is also said to have given her the manor of Green­wich in apol­ogy for hav­ing sworn at her in pub­lic af­ter she ac­ci­den­tally shot one of his favourite dogs while hunt­ing), it was to be her last. Work stopped on the house in April 1618 when Anne be­came ill and she died the fol­low­ing year. Build­ing only restarted when James’s son Charles I gave Green­wich to his queen, Hen­ri­etta Maria (daugh­ter of Henri IV of France), in 1629.

When it was struc­turally com­plete in 1635 the new house was such a nov­elty that peo­ple called it “The White House”. Jones’s ideas went on to be taken up by Lord Burling­ton, Colen Camp­bell and Wil­liam Kent, re­sult­ing in the Ge­or­gian style that is fa­mil­iar in towns and cities all over the coun­try.

The house still boasts orig­i­nal fea­tures such as the fa­mous Tulip Stairs. This wrought-iron struc­ture was the first geo­met­ric, self-sup­port­ing spi­ral stair in Bri­tain. It is also the lo­ca­tion of the Rev. R.W. Hardy’s fa­mous “ghost” pho­to­graph taken in 1966, which ap­pears to show two or three shrouded fig­ures on the stair­case – a phenomenon that has never been ex­plained log­i­cally to this day. The house is also fa­mous for its dra­matic great hall and art col­lec­tion fea­tur­ing works by Gains­bor­ough, Reynolds and Hog­a­rth, as well as the Ar­mada Por­trait of El­iz­a­beth I.

The house was re­cently re­stored in time for its 400th an­niver­sary in 2016 with the ad­di­tion of a ma­jor com­mis­sion by the Turner-prize-win­ning artist Richard Wright. It re­mains free to visit.

Above: The sweep­ing lawns of the Cam­bridge Amer­i­can Ceme­tery.

Top left: Mo­saic an­gel on the ceil­ing of the Me­mo­rial Chapel.

Bot­tom left: Wall map in the Me­mo­rial Chapel.

Top right: Mo­saic ceil­ing and wall maps.

Bot­tom right: The wooden doors of the Me­mo­rial Chapel.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.